(b. 1808, Marseille, d. 1879, Valmondois)

Don Quixote and Sancho Panza

Oil on canvas, 78 x 120 cm
Nationalgalerie, Berlin

Miguel de Cervantes's novel Don Quixote became popular in France between 1768 and 1773 through numerous French translations. Jean-Honoré Fragonard, who in so many ways was the key painter to shape Daumier's art, had planned to illustrate one of these editions of Don Quixote. For Daumier, Cervantes's antihero Don Quixote personifies life's folly and grandeur. The skeletal old knight astride his nag Rocinante, followed by his faithful squire Sancho Panza, offers a trenchant image of antiquated values, maintained to the despair of a loving, realistic companion, as retraced along Cervantes's penetrating lines.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.